Compared to the America you find inside of Walgreens and shopping malls and chain restaurants, with institutional carpeting and bright lights and shiny surfaces that bounce sound waves like hyperactive rubber balls and people people people, the internet is a haven for introverts. It leaves us free to interact at our own pace, with time to take in, time to filter, a limited amount of sensory input arriving at one time (text but no facial expressions, one thing to interpret). It lets us play at being extroverts without having to show our faces.
And some of us do need that interaction. Lord knows I do. I'm trying to branch out into the face-to-face world, though -- toughen myself up a bit for the next round of living, where I'll interact with people all day. I need to remember how to do it.
I'm not sure if it's fair to refer to myself as an introvert -- I love people, but they exhaust me so -- because that misses something important. "Introvert" implies, wrongly I think, shyness, a turning away from other people. I'm not shy. I'm the opposite of shy, which is readily apparent if you've spent any kind of time with me in person or on the internets. I will tell you anything, whether you want to know it or not, and the less you want to hear it the more I want to say it.
It's just that this model doesn't come with a filter. Anything is liable to come out of my mouth (insert dirty joke about what might be liable to get in), but it's nothing compared to the torrent I take in. I mostly choose, these days, not to filter what goes out -- but I am just flat unable to filter what comes in. Everything gets in. Sounds, tastes, smells, activity, visual stimuli, emotions, like a fucking fire hose. Which is why it's nice to cut down a bit by interacting online, or with one or two people, or by (oh yes please) being alone in a quiet clean place.
Guess how often that last one happens.
Music is amazing. Food is sublime. Other people's feelings can overwhelm me. As can my own.
It's worth it, though, right? I can love with such intensity. I can disappear into a song. Hallucinogens are sort of beside the point.
What's it like to be you?